Darren Palmer

Owner, Bella Interiors

Tracey Ingaldo

Trainer and Assessor at Open Colleges

“Be passionate or don't bother. There are so many people trying to get ahead that without that passion you won't be able to last the distance.”

Trainer and assessor for Open Colleges, Tracey, owns Bella Interiors, doing work from a residential, and commercial, range. This includes interior design for fittings, colours, and lighting sources as well as designing for the layouts of businesses, where Tracey prefers working with smaller (as opposed to larger) commercial spaces.

“My most recent job was for a client which came through a builder friend of mine,” explains Tracey. “The client’s job involved choosing colours for a newly designed fit-out kitchen, splash glass aspect colours, and colours for rendering of the house. I also had to select new lighting fittings (both interior and exterior) for the freshly designed layout.” This was for a residential home

It was quite a modern home. “It was a house - probably in the vicinity of 20 years old - and without modernising the home design was based on the needs of the client.”

1 Can you tell me a little bit about how CAD has changed over the last decade or so?

These computer programs evolve every year; changing and upgrading. Computer design programs take an interior designer to a different level because their work looks more professional.

I often still do hand rendering. It’s very quick and simple. I do this to show clients where colours are utilised throughout the house, giving them an idea of colour or furniture placement. Working with BIM and CAD goes back down to the needs of the clients.

In most cases, my clients just want a “plan view”, rendered drawing or simple elevations to show what the finished rooms are going to look like.

2 Do interior designers have to have good hand drawing skills as well?

Yes. Yes. Yes. I actually met a student who was involved with Open Colleges in a drawing class, also involving CAD. This student approached me and wanted to hone their skills to better their hand drawing and their technical drawing skills using a computer.

It’s very important to improve on these skills whether it is through a course or by hiring videos through a library.

3 Tell me a little bit about the project you did in Vietnam.

I did my work from home and was liaising with a builder friend of mine who went over to Vietnam to help on a specific “province.”

I suggested sizes which were Australian and because he was actually a qualified builder, I advised by specifications and schedules. I then asked him to seek those materials and furnishings locally, and to advise on the sizes - down to the millimetre.

4 Why are you so passionate about interior design and decoration? Why is it an awesome career area to get into?

My father was a sign-writer/painter and I’ve always been interested in colours and images. I had a passion! It’s important for every individual to find their niche!

My advice for students? I think the best thing is to compare different companies you want to aim to work at. Do a lot of research, do a lot of comparisons to see if this is actually the area that you want to go into.

5 What are some of the design related websites, blogs and magazines that you’ve read in the past month?

Houzz, Cool Hunter, Vogue Living, Inside Out, Belle, Architecture Review… I think technology and seeing different ways of creating design solutions are fascinating.

6 Is self-development a really important thing for you?

Yes. It keeps you at the forefront of the industry. Clients (at the end of the day) want a “wow factor” in their house, but they want something current as well. They actually want something that’s current now. They want the right colours that are available and that everybody is using. So it’s very, very important to keep on the cutting edge of interior design.

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